Doug Thompson – “MONEY, IT’S A GAS”

Doug ThompsonAnyone familiar with that Pink Floyd tune? (c’mon, who isn’t?  It’s from “Dark Side of The Moon” for crying out loud).  The album, released on March 1, 1973, made # 1 for only one week, but in total, spent 741 weeks on Billboard magazine’s album chart.  Let’s put that into years shall we?  “Dark Side of the Moon” remained on the charts from 1973 until 1988.  If you know the song, then you’ll know that the next lyrics to the title at the top of the page are:  “Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.  New car, caviar, four star daydream, think I’ll buy me a football team.”

There are plenty of rich rock and roller stars who could easily afford to buy a football team, or at least buy into one.  Several did.  Elton John and Rod Stewart just to name two.

Elton and Rod

Although we could discuss “Dark Side of The Moon” for many blogs, that’s not what this blog’s about this time.  It is however, about M-O-N-E-Y!

Big time rock and roll money, honey!, a financial website that claims that that you can learn ‘Everything you need to know about the world’s ultra wealthy in 3 minutes’, recently released their list of the Top Ten wealthiest musicians.

Pathetic Christmas TreeSo, while the rest of us buy Christmas and holiday presents for loved ones and not-so-loved ones, while stretching our credit cards to the max and beyond, let’s celebrate these ten uber rich musicians to whom the word ‘budget’ meaning nothing, shall we?

Now, while the dollars and sense facts come from, the commentary comes from me and may not reflect the views of DBAWIS, Bob Segarini or any of the other bloggers on this site.

  1. Beyonce, or, if we’re being formal, Beyonce Knowles-Carter. Bey’s estimated net worth is $440 MILLION.  I’m not really a fan of her music, however I did enjoy her acting prowess as Felicity Shagwell in “Austin Powers 3: Goldmember”.


These days, you can’t escape pictures of her and Jay-Z’s baby Blue Ivy, they’re literally everywhere.  I think Bey and Jay-Z may actually be planning a world tour for the kid soon.  She won’t sing or dance, she’ll just sit on stage for ninety minutes and look really, really, really cute.  Kim Kardashian could use the kind of publicity baby Bey receives.

Recently (Monday December 8th in fact), the ‘royal couple’ of the music industry met Britain’s actual Royal couple at a Brooklyn Nets/Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game.  I can’t confirm this (and I may have just made it up), but rumour is that the conversation between Beyonce and Kate Middleton aka the Duchess of Cambridge, centered around an arranged marriage for little Blue Ivy and bonnie Prince George.  Time will tell…or not.

  1. Elton John, or more correctly, Sir Elton Hercules John, and yes, that is his legal name (well, not the ‘Sir’ part, but everything else). The ole ‘Rocket Man’ is worth $450 MILLION.  The man’s musical legacy is simply astounding. Elton (and to be fair, Bernie Taupin, his main lyric writer for all these decades), have had over 70 songs make Billboards’ Hot 100 singles chart, ten of which made it to # 1.  That doesn’t even include the over 40 albums he’s released, seven of which were consecutively #1 that began in 1972 with “Honky Chateau”, followed by 1973’s “Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player”.  That same year came “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” with “Caribou” climbing to the top in ’74.  “Elton John’s Greatest Hits” was next, then in 1975, two more # 1’s, “Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy” followed by “Rock of The Westies”.  EJ’s sold more than 300 MILLION records/cassettes/ CD’s/wax cylinders, etc.


Sir Elty’s come a long way from the time he stuck his head in an oven trying to commit suicide.  Bernie Taupin, who ‘saved’ Elton’s life that day, tells the story that Elton had the gas oven on low, all the windows were open and Elton’s head was resting on a pillow.  Apparently the former Reginald Kenneth Dwight was distraught that he was about to marry a woman named Linda Woodrow and decided to end it all.  That marriage didn’t happen, although Elton was married to a woman for several years.  Her name was Renate Blauel, a German recording engineer.  They married on Valentine’s Day 1984.  The marriage last three years.  Maybe the fact that he’s in a successful civil partnership with Canadian David Furnish and is much more content these days, makes Elton a happy man.  I sincerely hope so.  You all remember that old saying, “When you marry a Canuck.  You’ll have lots of luck.”  OK, so no one has ever actually said that, but maybe they should.

  1. Shawn Carter aka Mr. Beyonce. I may have to go into the witness protection program for calling him that.  Shawn (I call him Shawn and he really doesn’t seem to mind at all), is better known as Jay-Z. His estimated net worth is $510 MILLION.  Jay-Z has more companies than you can shake a Kardashian ass at – Roc Nation Sports, a sports agency, a chain of sports bars as well as the Rocawear clothing line.  Oh yeah, there’s also his music career and that talented wife of his, who’s catching up in the bucks department. Jay Z7. Mariah Carey checks in at number 7 (as Casey Kasem used to say on American Top 40) with a net worth estimated at $520 MILLION. After some 200 million albums sold, Mariah used to be everybody’s favourite diva (well, maybe not Nick Cannon’s so much anymore).  Her soon-to-be-ex-husband stands to make enough money from the divorce to start his own bank (of course, I’m pretty certain there’s a pre-nup lurking in some lawyer’s drawers.  ‘Course, Nick’s already got the hosting gig on “America’s Got Talent” and while he may not be making Howard Stern money ($15 MIL per season), he could easily buy everyone in Canada a Christmas present if he really wanted to (they wouldn’t be super expensive presents, but hey, you never look a gift present in the mouth…or some horsey saying like that).  If Mariah happens to be reading this, I’m pretty sure she’d be quite peeved, saying to one of her minions, “Hey, isn’t this supposed to be about me?”  Alrighty then Miss Thing, let’s have at it.  I’ve interviewed Mariah several times.  The first time, her Columbia Records/SONY Music brought her to Toronto to do press for the “MTV Unplugged” EP in 1992.  She was brought to the Telemedia studios in uptown Toronto and was cool and friendly and she gave a great interview.  The next time, back to Toronto she came and she was a little bit standoffish, but still pleasant enough.  The last time I interviewed her (can’t remember for what album), SONY flew me to New York where I took a cab to the SONY recording studios in downtown Manhattan and with her publicist sitting only a few feet away, Mariah clipped the microphone to her blouse, then proceeded to lie down on the plush couch, which had been conveniently placed in the room and stared at the ceiling throughout the entire interview – questions and answers.  But to be fair, it was a good interview, despite the lack of eye contact.


Recently, Mariah was three hours late to sing at the 82nd annual tree lighting ceremony in Rockefeller Centre.  Apparently she was ‘busy’ discussing divorce on the phone with her lawyer.   NBC executives told her to “take your 5 octive range and ease on down the road lady” (of course, NBC executives would never use those exact words, but definitely something in that vein was said).  She did sing it a few days later and her isolated vocal track is something every human being (and maybe even a couple of million canines) on planet earth should hear.

  1. Can you believe that Paul Hewson is worth $590 MILLION. He’s the lead singer of U2, better known to the world as Bono Vox (nobody remembers the Vox part anymore).  U2 kinda blew their rep a bit recently when they made a deal with Apple to download their latest album to iTunes.  A whole lotta people got a whole lotta upset, even though the entire album was free (well, you get what you pay for).  Bono can go back to saving the world now (just don’t try to download it).Bono5. Celine Dion is the only Canadian to make the list at $630 MILLION (I guess Justin Bieber bought one too many houses / over priced cars last year or had to pay too many lawyers to keep him out of trouble). Though Celine has performed over 600 shows in Las Vegas, she’s currently on hiatus dealing with husband Rene’s cancer. Celine Her record sales have topped 200 MILLION and she continues to release albums in both English and French (separately, naturally).  Celine also has her own fragrance (c’mon, at this point, who doesn’t have a fragrance?  OK, the man who runs this blog doesn’t…….yet!  I’m still waiting for the Segarini Scent to show up in Sears Bob).         4. Sean Diddy Combs (that’s what his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame says). He’s also known as P. Diddy aka Puff Daddy, or as his close, personal friends call him, ‘P’. Sean John has an estimated net worth of $640 MIL.  That’s one helluva lot of Diddy’s. P Puff Diddy DaddyI’ve never worn his jeans…and probably never will, but somebody obviously is because Diddy’s clothes line sell like crazy (I’m not calling You crazy ‘P’, honest, just your clothing sales…please don’t hit me.  Look, there’s Drake over there.  Hit him again like you did this week).  Guess what?  Sean’s got HIS own fragrance (like that’s a shocker to anyone), and diversified financial interests to make Warren Buffet envious.                                                                                                                 3. Dr Dre, or as his passport says, Andre Romelle Young can call up a pizza place and order every topping known to man and not worry about having money left over to tip the pizza delivery boy.  DreThe good Doctor’s estimated net worth is $650 MIL.  Much of that is due to the sale of Beats Electronics, manufacturers of high end headphones, a company he co-founded with Jimmy Iovine, record producer extraordinaire (Stevie Nicks, Dire Straits, The Pretenders, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and so many others.  The list is longer than Bruce Jenner’s ponytail) and former Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records (Jimmy was a co-founder of Interscope).  Apple bought Beats Electronics from Dre and Iovine and company for 3 BILLION $$$.                                                                                                      2. Paul McCartney was once known as ‘the cute Beatle’. I would think that $660 MILLION could buy a lot of cute or at the very least, brilliant plastic surgeons to keep you looking cute. Paul McCartney Arrives In TokyoBut Sir Paul has aged well, despite his second wife’s efforts to drain him of his money and blood.  He seems quite happy and content with his third wife, Nancy Shevell, whose family has apparently as much money as Sir Paul.  I’m a bit confused about Paul’s ranking here as most British financial papers estimate he has around $660 MILLION British pounds, which would make him a billionaire and therefore, number one on this list.

Once he started to make a bit of extra money with The Beatles, SP (Sir Paul) starting buying  publishing companies and MPL (McCartney Productions Limited) currently has a massive catalogue of over 25,000 copyrights, including Buddy Holly’s song writing catalogue as well as the publishing rights to the Broadway musicals, “Guys And Dolls”, “A Chorus Line”, “Grease” and “Annie”.  But I’ll bet Paul’s still pissed at himself that he told Michael Jackson to start buying publishing rights and Michael ended up buying The Beatles catalogue.  He’s probably even more pissed that he married Heather Mills, but never you mind Paulie, you’re in a better place now.

  1. Madonna Louise Ciccone, the pride and joy of Bay City, Michigan, stands at the top of the heap of the world’s richest musicians with an estimated $800 MIL net worth. Madge was once Alanis Morrisette’s boss at Maverick Records. She’s sold in excess of 300 million albums worldwide.  MadonnaThe RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) says Madonna’s the best selling female rock artists of the 20th century.  The Guinness Book of World Records goes even further, stating that she’s the ‘Best selling Female Artist of All Time’.  Madonna has a successful fashion line with designs from her Madge-jesty and daughter Lourdes.  She’s a best-selling author, an award winning actress, successful businesswoman and in case inquiring minds want to know, of course, she has her own perfume line.  Several in fact, including “Truth Or Dare”, a line which also includes handbags, footwear and ahem, intimate apparel.  As Austin Powers would say, “Oh behave, you Material Girl you”.


    Doug’s column appears here every 4th Monday.

    Contact us at:

    DBAWIS_ButtonDoug Thompson has spent his entire adult life in broadcasting, both in Canada and the U.S. and has won 152 awards for his work.  He worked with Canadian actor John Candy for 17 years, writing and producing commercials, specials and several weekly radio programs.

    Currently, he’s writing and producing the second season of a television program for the Hi Fi channel in Canada called “Hi Fi Salutes”, a series of short biographical documentaries on Canadian musicians, producers and record industry pioneers.  One of those programs recently won a Platinum Award at the World Film Festival in Houston.

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